The Southern Saints have announced that they will add regional players, Kyle Smith, Utu AhKuoi and Hayden Johnson to “their retained players list” for the 2017 AFL New Zealand Premiership.
Christchurch Bulldogs Captain Kyle Smith will return to the Southern Saints in 2017.
Still only 22 years of age, Smith is a hard running midfielder and has the ability to change a game. His form during the 2016 season was rewarded with his selection in the AFL New Zealand Premiership team of the year and his overall consistency will see him push for a spot once again in 2017.
Kyle has represented New Zealand at all age levels and will be putting in the effort to make the Senior New Zealand Hawks squad for the 2017 International Cup.
Utu Ah Kuoi
Utu Ah Kuoi will make a return to the Southern Saints in 2017. On the field, Ah Kuoi is a midfielder who attacks the ball with pace and strength and was the recipient of the AFL New Zealand U16 Player of the year at the 2015 High Performance Awards.
Originally from Wellington, Ah Kuoi now studies at Otago University. Alongside AFL, he excels at the sport of Waterpolo. Both Sports require stamina and endurance which will see him stand out for the Saints come the end of the season.
The 19 year old has represented the New Zealand Hawks at U16, U18 and debuted for the senior side on Westpac Stadium in April 2015.
Otago Boys High School student and Southern Saints forward Hayden Johnson has been retained by the Premiership team following his impressive form during the 2016 competition. Still new to the game, Johnson showed attributes of a player who knows the game inside and out and has continued to work on his skills over the off season.
His tall frame makes him a hard player to challenge in the air with a strong mark, Head Coach Warwick Kain will look to utilise the 17 year old as a marking forward in 2017.
Southern Saints squad to date:
|Coach:||Warwick Kain||Otago Riot||Otago|
|Assistant Coach:||Alex Fakatoumafi||Manurewa Raiders||Auckland|
|Playing Assistant:||Andriu Sucu||North Shore Tigers||Auckland|
|Captain:||Michael Boyce||Mt Roskill Saints||Auckland|
|Squad:||Brandon Sucu||North Shore Tigers||Auckland|
|Kyle Smith||Christchurch Bulldogs||Canterbury|
|Hayden Johnson||Otago Riot||Otago|
|Utu Ah Kuoi||Wellington City Saints||Wellington|